Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The Devil Made Me Do It
Knowledge of a devil's true name or the ability to inscribe its sigil grants significant power over the fiend. In the cast of the spell planar binding, when a devil's true name is used to conjure a specific fiend, the target devil takes a -5 penalty on the initial Will save to resist being summoned; if its sigil is inscribed within the magic circle binding it, the devil takes a -5 penalty on all checks to escape the circle. True names and sigils might also be known to have other powers over devils, though most devil summoners keep the discovery of such powers closely guarded secrets.
Discovering True Names and Infernal Sigils
By studying tomes of dark lore, infernal documents, and tragic histories, one might discover occluded riddles and hints at the names of devils working their will upon mortal kind. A researcher not specifically searching for the true name or sigil of a specific infernal creature might discover either of these details relating to a lesser devil by spending a month doing nothing besides studying in a sizable library of history or arcane lore. At the end of the month, the GM should make a DC 25 Knowledge (planes) check for the researcher, modified by aid from a single assistant and any tomes noted to be of particular value. If this check succeeds, the researcher discovers the type and true name or sigil (one or the other) of a random lesser devil. If the check fails, the researcher discovers nothing of value relating to true names; he may spend additional months researching again in the same library, but each subsequent check there takes a cumulative -2 penalty for that researcher until the penalty is so great it is obvious the place holds no valuable lore. If the researcher fails his check by more than 5, he believes he's discovered a creature's true name, but it is in fact a fake, and holds no power.
If the researcher knows of a specific devil, he may attempt to specifically research that creature's name or sigil. For a lesser devil, researching this information takes a month, while for a greater devil, it takes 3 months. At the end of this time, the GM makes a Knowledge (planes) check for the researcher with a DC equal to 20 + the devil's Hit Dice. Should the researcher already know the creature's true name but not its sigil (or vice versa) he gains a +2 bonus on this check in addition to any other bonuses for assistance or worthwhile tomes. Success on this check reveals the details being sought, while failure reveals no information, though the researcher may continue to study in the same library, as noted above. Failing by more than 5 uncovers false information, as previously noted.
One might also attempt to research the name of a diabolical being as powerful as an infernal duke or archfiend, but such can only be done in the libraries of Hell or with a tome of fundamental evil power (like the Book of the Damned). Although such beings can resist as summons that invokes their true names or sigils, they often choose to appear anyway merely to discover who has learned their secrets and how. Such encounters typically end with such brash devil summoners being dragged screaming back to the infernal prince's domain in Hell.
One might attempt to coax knowledge of a weaker infernal creature's true name or sigil from a summoned devil. Any devil has a percent chance equal to double its Hit Dice to know the true name of one or more fiends lower than it in the infernal hierarchy-- lesser devils typically know 1d4+1 true names and sigils, while greater devils usually know 2d8+2. There are certain exceptions such as lemures that never know any true names, osyluths that usually know as many names and sigils as true devils, and gelugons and certain other highly manipulative greater devils who might know double the typical number.
No devil betrays the true names of its inferiors freely, though. A devil summoned via planar binding or planar ally might be coaxed into revealing such details, but only for a high and often dangerous price. Fiends typically use this opportunity to entice their summoners into performing acts that further their own nefarious schemes or the goals of Hell. In addition, spellcasters employing planar binding still need to engage in a contest of wills to convince the fiend to reveal such a secret, forcing the caster to make an opposed Charisma check as described by that spell. A spellcaster planar ally using must perform a deed and pay his infernal contract for its knowledge in treasures equaling 2,000 gp times the Hit Dice of the devil whose true name or sigil is to be revealed. A devil only reveals one true name or sigil per summoning and returns to Hell upon doing so.